GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes liked the way they were playing at the start of the season, even if pucks weren’t going into the net. They were playing solid defence, creating good chances, and figured the goals would come.
Now that they’re scoring in bunches and, for the most part, playing lockdown defence, the wins are piling up.
"We’ve been playing the way we wanted to play really since the start of the season," Garland said. "We didn’t get those first two games, but we played pretty good."
The Coyotes have allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season and have revved up their offence since scoring one goal the first two games.
Kyle Capobianco had his first NHL goal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored in the first period. Carl Soderberg added a goal in the third period and Lawson Crouse had an empty-netter for Arizona, which has 20 goals during a five-game points streak.
The Coyotes had some defensive lapses in the third period, but Raanta stopped 19 shots for his first win since last Nov. 2 against Carolina.
"When you haven’t played in 11 months, it doesn’t really matter what kind of game it is," said Raanta, who was injured most of last season. "You’re just happy to be back and playing, just enjoying the game."
The Senators made a late push, pulling within two goals after Vladislav Namestnikov and Chris Tierney scored in the third period. Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots.
"They outplayed in the first period, didn’t give us anything, we made some major mistakes that end up in the net, and then you’re playing catch-up hockey the rest of the way, which is tough," Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. "The second and third period, I really liked our effort."
The Senators earned a point in Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Vegas, but were shaky defensively, allowing the Golden Knights to pepper Andres Nilsson with 54 shots.
Ottawa as didn’t give up as many shots against Arizona, but more found the back of the net.
Capobianco scored his first NHL goal midway through the first period on a shot from near the blue line that hit Senators centre Namestnikov’s stick and caromed past Anderson.
Ekman-Larsson scored 81 seconds later on a rebound after a shot by Clayton Keller bobbled across the crease.
Garland made it 3-0 midway through the second period, wristing in a rebound after a shot by Brad Richardson caromed out to the left faceoff dot.
Soderberg opened the third period with a power-play goal on a shot from the slot, but Namestnikov answered with a short-handed goal on a breakaway.
Tierney cut Arizona’s lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal, one-timing a pass from Thomas Chabot in the slot. The Senators continued to push, but Raanta made some difficult saves and Crouse closed it out with his first goal of the season.
"We knew they were going to come out hard early and we didn’t match their compete level," said Tierney, who has two goals this season. "They dominated, got the lead and it ended up being too much for us."
Notes: Arizona recalled D Aaron Ness from Tucson of AHL affiliate and placed D Jordan Oesterle on the injured reserve list after he was hit on the head by a puck on Thursday. … Ottawa C Artem Anisimov missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. … Arizona honoured RW Phil Kessel before the game for playing career game No. 1,000 on Thursday.
Ottawa plays at Dallas on Monday.
Arizona opens a four-game road trip against the New York Rangers on Tuesday.